All engineering students follow a common curriculum in their first year and take courses in chemistry, mathematics, physics, computing, engineering mechanics, and Introduction to the Engineering Profession. In March of the first year, students are asked to make a choice among the various engineering disciplines offered and also between the traditional and cooperative education streams.
The second-year program includes courses such as mathematics and English, which are common to all departments, as well as courses specific to the chosen discipline. As the student progresses through the program the courses taken become more specialized. Also, exposure to basic business concepts is an important aspect of an engineering education. Programs for all disciplines include courses in engineering economics, and several engineering management and business electives are available.
Students in the traditional program attend classes from September to April over a four-year period (eight academic terms) to obtain their degree.
In the co-op program, students complement their academic studies with five four-month work terms of paid work experience. The academic requirements are the same as in the traditional program. Because of the work experience component, co-op students complete the last six academic terms over a four-year period so a degree with the co-operative program designation requires five years. The co-operative education program is offered in all engineering programs, with the exception of Engineering Physics. All programs include one fall work term (September to December), one winter work term (January to April) and three summer work terms (May to August). The sequence of academic and work terms for each may be found by following the link for that discipline from the curriculum page. Because of the year round nature of the cooperative program, co-op students are considered to be full-time students of the University of Alberta for the full 12 months of any academic year (July 1 - June 30).
Students accepted into the cooperative education program must successfully complete the following six courses, in addition to the regular requirements for an engineering degree within their specialization: ENGG 299, WKEXP 901, WKEXP 902, WKEXP 903, WKEXP 904, and WKEXP 905.
Since work experience is a program requirement, the Engineering Co-op Centre within the Faculty of Engineering assists students in finding suitable engineering-related employment. Most of the jobs are within Alberta but some jobs are located elsewhere in Canada or even overseas. The ultimate responsibility for obtaining work-term employment rests with the student. Co-op students pay a modest administrative fee for each work term. Visa students (student visitors) are not eligible for the co-operative education program.